Since 1998, the Don and Metta Michell Amphitheater has become the Sunday evening destination for gospel music lovers during July and August – this year will be no exception. The amphitheater, located at 225 N. Water St., will host six 7:30 p.m. Sunday evening concerts from July 7 through August 11. The concert series will feature three national groups and three regional groups.
Concert organizer, Lynn Webster, announced this week that the Tennessee group “Three Bridges” is returning to share a musical message on Sunday, July 7. Area pastor John Miller endorsed the group as being his favorite group to combine great music, entertainment and worship. The threat of inclement weather forced their concert into the Owosso Middle School auditorium last year, so Webster felt that Owosso area believers would greatly enjoy having “Three Bridges” back as the season opener.
On Sunday, July 14, another national group, “The Nelons,” will share their music ministry. The group now spans three generations; starting with the legendary bass Rex Nelon (now deceased) and including Rex’s daughter Kelly, her husband Jason Clark and their daughters, Autumn and Amber. “The Nelons” have received numerous Grammy and Dove awards, been frequent Bill Gaither Homecoming video guests, sung at the Grand Ole Opry and were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in Dollywood, TN in 2016. “Their family age range allows for a variety of music styles that appeals to gospel music fans,” shared Webster.
A Flint-area based group, “Justified,” returns to the Owosso amphitheater stage on Sunday, July 21. The five members were part of other gospel groups before banding together in 2011. Since starting to perform together, they have recorded and released six CDs as they have toured in the mid-Michigan area.
On Sunday, July 28, “The Sound” – Rob Mills and his sons, Jacob and Levi, take the stage. Rob created an extremely entertaining presentation of “Leaning On The Everlasting Arms,” featuring music styles of the ‘40s to the ‘90s (complete with fascinating costumes). They originally traveled with his wife and daughter as The Mills Family. They now travel full-time, especially along the U.S. east coast. The Sound has had several songs on the top 40 chart of The Singing News.
On Sunday, Aug. 4, “The Calvarymen” will return to Owosso. Starting in 1956, the Flint-area group has been extremely popular and was regarded as “Michigan’s Good-Will Ambassadors” by the Michigan legislature. Bass singer Jim Glasco, who was part of the original group, is now joined by his nephew, baritone Jeff Glasco. We were all saddened by the passing of their beloved tenor, Phil Parkin, last fall. According to their manager, Barry Maust, 2019 will be the farewell tour for “The Calvarymen.” Webster felt it would be a great gesture to include this group who have made so many Owosso-area friends over the years. Plan to come and say good-bye to them.
On Sunday, Aug. 14, “Stronghold Quartet” closes out the SUMMERPraise! series, which has become a tradition. They are from the Howell/Fowlerville area and have a contemporary southern gospel song style. Tenor Don Byers, his brother, Dennis Byers, and sound-man, Dan Dodd, all graduated from Owosso High School and attended the Owosso First Church of the Nazarene. Joined by baritone, Jim Kitchen, and bass, Bill Neathamer, “Stronghold” recently released its seventh CD since beginning in 2005.
Individuals attending the concerts should bring a lawn chair or blanket. In the event of inclement weather, the Owosso Middle School auditorium next door is the alternate rain site. A free-will love-offering will be taken for each group. Individuals desiring to be involved as a “patron” with a one-time offering of $50 to $500 should send a check to Lynn Webster, 814 E. Oliver St. in Owosso. You can give in memory of or in honor of a loved one or friend. Please make your check payable to the Owosso Area Ministerial Association, who sponsor the concert series. For more information, contact Lynn or Diana Webster at (989) 723-1288 or (517) 304-9292.